SIDNEY — Jackson Center was winless in Shelby County Athletic League play during regular season but made sure on Thursday it didn’t go a full season without beating a league opponent.
The Tigers used a big defensive performance to beat Fairlawn 47-34 in a Division IV sectional final at Sidney High School. The squad advances to face No. 1 seed Fort Loramie in a district semifinal on Monday.
Jackson Center lost 37-29 at Fairlawn on Jan. 21 and lost 49-41 on Feb. 5. Fairlawn junior guard Lonna Heath was a big reason why the Tigers lost both contests; she scored 15 points in the first matchup and 32 points in the second.
Heath was swarmed by Jackson Center defenders on Thursday and struggled to get shots. She scored three points in the first half and managed just two free throws in the second to finish with five points.
“We wanted to limit Heath and make every shot she took a tough shot,” Jackson Center coach Jeff Reese said. “We talked about how that wasn’t an individual effort, but a team effort. The individuals that guarded her certainly did that, but our team stepped up and helped out each other.”
Fairlawn built a 10-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Tigers committed several turnovers in the second quarter but still dominated with a 13-2 scoring edge to take a 20-12 halftime lead.
The Tigers pushed their lead to as high as 14 points in the second quarter before Fairlawn rallied. The Jets used a 15-10 edge in the third to pull within 30-27 and pulled within 33-32 midway through the fourth.
Jackson Center took over again and finished with a 14-2 run.
“We took a timeout there (with about four minutes left) and said ‘We’ve got to just settle down,’” Reese said. “The crowd was getting fired up and everyone was getting into it, but that didn’t mean we have to get nervous and stop doing the things that made us successful in the first half.
“Once we settled back into it and realized we can break their pressure, I think they calmed down and were able to find some openings real well.”
Jackson Center (5-17), which drew a first-round bye, has won three consecutive games. Reese said he’s proud of how the squad has played recently.
“It’s huge,” Reese said. “We obviously had a rough season, but that’s the beautiful thing about tournament time. Everyone starts 0-0. That’s what we’ve been telling them all week long.”
Sarah Clark led the Tigers with 10 points. Katie Clark, Ashley Mullenhour and Gwen Prenger each scored eight and Ava Winner added seven.
Lexi Graves led Fairlawn with 11 points while Camri Cundiff scored nine and Katie McKenzie scored eight.
The Jets finish 7-15 overall. They’ll lose two seniors to graduation: Graves and Ashley Roush.
Fort Loramie 91, Ansonia 18
Fort Loramie senior forward Kenzie Hoelscher scored her 1,000th career point as the No. 1 seed Redskins rolled to a victory in Thursday’s second Div. IV sectional final at Sidney.
Fort Loramie built a 41-3 lead in the first quarter and outscored the Tigers 22-12 in the second. Hoelscher needed 16 points to reach the milestone and hit it on a basket shortly after a steal with 4:24 left in the second.
“Our entire program is happy for Kenzie tonight,” Fort Loramie coach Carla Siegel sad. “This achievement is the result of her commitment to be one of the best athletes to come through our school. Only eight other players in our program’s history have attained this hard-earned recognition. Congratulations to Kenzie and her teammates for this memorable game.”
The Redskins finished with a 14-0 edge in the third quarter and 14-3 edge in the fourth.
Hoelscher, who was recently named the SCAL player of the year, led the squad with 22 points and had four steals. Caitlyn Gasson scored 12 points and had five steals and six assists. Dana Rose scored 10 points and had six rebounds and four assists.
Fort Loramie (23-1) will face Jackson Center on Monday in Sidney.
Versailles 45, Tipp City Bethel 37
The Tigers opened tournament play with a win in a Div. III sectional final on Thursday at Northridge High School in Dayton.
The Bees built a 7-3 lead by the end of the first quarter and followed with a 12-7 advantage in the second to take a 19-10 halftime lead. The Tigers rallied with a 15-10 scoring edge in the second to cut the gap to 29-25, then finished with a 20-8 edge in the fourth.
Abby Stammen led Versailles (7-14) with 18 points while Kate Griesdorn scored seven.
The No. 6 seed Tigers advance to face No. 4 Carlisle in a district semifinal on Monday at Northridge.
• Boys basketball
Versailles 42, Arcanum 34
The Tigers opened tournament play with a victory on Thursday at Northmont High School in Clayton.
The Trojans built an 11-9 lead by the end of the first quarter. The teams each scored 10 points in the second. Versailles rallied with a 5-4 scoring advantage in the third and 18-9 edge in the fourth.
Jaydon Litten led the Tigers (9-14) with 17 points while Connor Stonebraker scored 10.
No. 9 seed Versailles advances to face No. 8 Dayton Christian in a Div. III sectional final on Thursday at Northmont.
• Girls basketball
Anna 50, Dayton Northridge 11
The No. 3 seed Rockets advanced to a Div. III district semifinal by crushing Northridge on Wednesday at Covington High School.
Anna built an 11-3 lead by the end of the first quarter and followed with a 21-5 scoring edge in the second. The Rockets finished with a 13-3 edge in the third and 5-0 edge in the fourth.
Ella Doseck led Anna (16-7) with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Mary Landis scored 10 points and Brenna Cobb added seven.
The Rockets shot 20 for 56 (36 percent) from the floor while Northridge shot 4 for 36 (11 percent).
Anna will face No. 2 seed Arcanum on Monday. The district semifinal will take place at Versailles High School.
Coaches can report results for Sidney Daily News’ daily roundups by sending scores, statistics and comments as soon as possible after games to firstname.lastname@example.org.